Summer Begins before the Solstice

Farewell to Spring blooming at Rush Creek in Novato

After a wet cool spring, the hills are suddenly straw, yet every afternoon the fog reaches its arms over the coastal hills. Summer in California has more sense of ending than any other time of year. In the Land of Seven Month Springs, we discover that even grass is mortal.

The red salamander in this contemplative poem is a Red Eft, the land stage of the East Coast cousin of our newts.


The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.

The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander,
so cold and so easy
to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.

.        –Denise Levertov

Some Farewell flowers have a brilliant red bloodspot at the base of each of their four petals



  1. Francesca Bell said,

    September 6, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Dear Bill,

    What a lovely blog! I hope you will remember, we read together for the MPC Summer Traveling Show in May. I am wondering if you could send me an email, I have a question for you. Also, I still have the article I clipped from the NY Times; I just have not gotten around to sending it.



  2. December 16, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I just wanted to express my appreciation for taking the time to leave a comment on my blog. Yes, Naomi Shihab Nye constantly surprises and comforts.

    And it made me smile to see a Denise Levertov poem, I have always loved her work too.

    Thank you again!

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